We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
On the Beach | [Nevil Shute]

On the Beach

A war no one fully understands has devastated the planet with radioactive fallout from massive cobalt bombing. Melbourne, Australia, is the only area whose citizens have not yet succumbed to the contamination. But there isn’t much time left, a few months, maybe more—and the citizens of Melbourne must decide how they will live the remaining weeks of their lives, and how they will face a hopeless future.
Regular Price:$24.49
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

A war no one fully understands has devastated the planet with radioactive fallout from massive cobalt bombing. Melbourne, Australia, is the only area whose citizens have not yet succumbed to the contamination. But there isn’t much time left, a few months, maybe more—and the citizens of Melbourne must decide how they will live the remaining weeks of their lives, and how they will face a hopeless future.

Published in 1957, On the Beach is considered a classic nuclear holocaust novel, and a masterpiece of speculative fiction.

©1957 Nevil Shute Norway (P)1991 Recorded Books, LLC

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (118 )
5 star
 (53)
4 star
 (39)
3 star
 (18)
2 star
 (7)
1 star
 (1)
Overall
4.1 (107 )
5 star
 (46)
4 star
 (37)
3 star
 (17)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (2)
Story
4.3 (105 )
5 star
 (56)
4 star
 (30)
3 star
 (16)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (0)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Julie Savage, MN, United States 10-06-13
    Julie Savage, MN, United States 10-06-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The most emotionally moving story I have ever read"
    If you could sum up On the Beach in three words, what would they be?

    Inevitability
    Futility
    Acceptance


    What did you like best about this story?

    "On The Beach" is the ultimate description of what we all
    feared during the 50s and 60s...atomic war. Simon Prebble
    seems to me to be the perfect choice to have narrated this
    story. His method perfectly matched the tone of the story in
    every way. Pat Frank's "Alas, Babylon". It is a similar story
    with a different outcome.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Even though the world was mostly dead, there was still a radio
    signal from Seattle. The discovery of its source was quite
    novel.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I have to say that the last few paragraphs of the book are
    gut-wrenchingly realistic...the ultimate Good-Bye as you watch
    a loved one leave forever... Scenes, plural. Many. If the
    last three chapters do not bring tears to your eyes many
    times, well, you're not human. (sorry)


    Any additional comments?

    There is no flowery writing in this book. Mr. Shute wrote it
    pretty much the way a military report is worded. Yet, the
    detail he gives to the characters and their dialog fills the
    story with beauty and purpose. Masterfully.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Randy Austin, TX, United States 05-04-13
    Randy Austin, TX, United States 05-04-13 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Made a Huge Impression"
    Would you consider the audio edition of On the Beach to be better than the print version?

    I'm blind, so don't read print.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Every character in the book offered different takes on the end of hisotry.


    Which character – as performed by Simon Prebble – was your favorite?

    All of them.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The last chapter when you knew for sure history was ending.


    Any additional comments?

    What would you do if you only had a year to live? What would you think about? The humanity of this book, and how all of these characters answer this question is what really draws you. Don't read this if you aren't in in the mood to do some serious thinking. Best book I have read in a while. Stands up to time well.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gus Mount Clemens, MI, United States 08-06-12
    Gus Mount Clemens, MI, United States 08-06-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An old view of WWIII"

    I read the book years ago. I found this to be different than I remembered and different from the movie versions. It is a good listen and I would recommend it for people interested in what we viewed the aftermath of WWIII ti be like from a 1960's perspective.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    N. Rogers San Antonio, TX, USA 06-07-14
    N. Rogers San Antonio, TX, USA 06-07-14 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    60
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    154
    29
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Personally a Tremendous Influence"

    This book profoundly influenced much of my life. I first read it while in high school and then again some time later. Now, after a lifetime, I listened to the audiobook. What struck me most from this most recent experience with the novel is the complete decency and sense of duty its characters displayed as they waited for a deadly inevitable cloud of radiation from nuclear war in the Northern Hemisphere to reach them in southern Australia. They clung to, or discovered, what meant most to them in their lives and continued to carry on in the face of the certain destruction of the human species. Contemporary readers may find their behavior implausible, but having grown up in the post WW II era, I see this as congruent with the values and character of that period.

    I was in college at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis and vividly remember the sense of urgency I felt after President Kennedy’s now-famous speech where everything--my future and that of the entire world--was on the line. Afterwards I soberly rode the elevator up to my room from the dorm lounge where so many girls had watched and listened to grave and frightening announcements. Many of my companions were openly crying and beginning to despair. One of them turned to me and asked with great urgency, “What are you going to do?” I answered that I was going to study for the Sociology exam I was scheduled to take in the morning. She looked at me incredulously and exclaimed, “But we may be at war tomorrow!! We may all be dead!” I thought about her question and replied, “But we may NOT be at war, and if we are not, I will certainly have to take that exam. I can’t change anything out there, but I CAN continue with what I am here to do. I can be prepared for that test.”

    In retrospect, we all know what happened: there was no war, I took that exam, and I did pretty well on it. I learned from On the Beach, and from that Missile Crisis experience, that I needed to do my job, whatever that might be, and to do it to the best of my ability for the rest of my life regardless of what whirlwinds of craziness were swirling about me. The characters in this book knew they were going to die, and they knew when--a truly terrifying concept. Yet, as the book points out, we all know that that our condition is terminal. Our time here is finite; we each need to make ours the best, most productive, life we can, for ourselves and for those around us. There is so much that we cannot control, but we can govern ourselves. We can be true to our values as so many of Shute’s people were in this novel.

    Because I had grown up with air raid drills, “duck and cover,” under a constant threat of nuclear annihilation, this book spoke directly to me. It frightened me tremendously, but it also taught me some very important lessons that have remained an integral part of everything I have done since. Each day of life dawned with a strong sense of urgency, causing me to grasp exciting experiences and opportunities as they offered themselves. I never felt the luxury of letting them pass by perhaps for another time.

    Over these many years, I have experienced much change, both loss and gain. Some events and situations I could influence, while others I was utterly impotent to affect. I learned from this book, and from life, to direct most of my energy and efforts into those spheres where I could actually have impact, and to let the rest go by. For me this is the major lesson of On the Beach.

    The novel certainly may have also influenced those with the power to change global politics, leading them to actions which effectively avoided nuclear war and total annihilation of life as we know it on earth. That is unknowable. I only understand that, unlike the characters in On the Beach, I was granted a full life--basically a wonderful and somewhat unexpected gift.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. R. Green Sunny Florida 07-18-14
    D. R. Green Sunny Florida 07-18-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Still feels so real, tho written long ago"

    A well told story of how folks might act at "the end" of the world as we know it. My second experience with this book and enjoyed it just as much this time. I highly recommend it. The narrator has a lovely accent that adds just the right touch of "down under" to the story! Try it, you'll like it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phyllis United States 05-18-14
    Phyllis United States 05-18-14 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    305
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A bit too dated for my taste."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The story was interesting although very dated (written in 1957, set in 1963 post nuclear earth).


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Nothing needed to be done to change the story. I just have a hard time listening to female characters of this time period being as ignorant as they are frequently portrayed. The stay-at-home wife, Mary was particular tough to listen to.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When the navy commander places the bracelet purchased for his (long dead) wife in his shirt pocket and lays down with his hand on the fishing rod purchased for his (lost) son, it is very poignant.


    Was On the Beach worth the listening time?

    It's worth it if you are interested in that early 1960's timeframe of total nuclear destruction of the planet and how the last survivors would utilize their time. That was an interesting study in how some people face the inevitable.


    Any additional comments?

    None.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Auburn, AL, United States 05-18-14
    Chris Auburn, AL, United States 05-18-14 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Cold War classic for our times"
    Where does On the Beach rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is one of my favorite books, probably top 20.


    What other book might you compare On the Beach to and why?

    Classic in the genres of Failsafe and Dr. Strangelove, but much more personal. We say we don't know when we will die, but what will you do when there is a date on the calendar for you?


    Have you listened to any of Simon Prebble’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    He is an excellent narrator. This is no exception.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Finding corpses at a picnic trying to party themselves into eternity was a haunting image.


    Any additional comments?

    Without sounding maudlin, this is a book about politics and technology gone far wrong, and has lessons for us today. Also, anyone who knows someone with a terminal disease can relate to the coping skills this story reveals.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-7 of 7 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

CANCEL

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.